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Huntington Beach Butterfly Park Has Monarch Magic

Norma Brandel Gibbs Park Sims Grove

Prior to being designated as Norma Brandel Gibbs Park, this site was known as Sims Grove. The park is dedicated to the first settlers who established homes and farms on the Bolsa, including prominent people in Orange County political and agricultural life such as Grahams, Heils, Kettlers, Slaters and Moores. They raised lima beans on the fields around the grove and served the county as legislators and agri-businessmen. This grove was planted by Charles Graham, an original settler around the turn of the century (20th), because he needed wood for building. When the wood proved unusable for construction, he used it for firewood. Since that time, generations of children have grown up playing here, the last rural spot in a maturing city.

Sims Grove is a place to sit and reflect amongst the thick eucalyptus groves that provide shade all day long. A stroll through the grove leads to the new Sims Park situated in the Summerlane tract of homes. This region was once a small airport called Meadowlark Airport. It now includes the park and the residential area.

Norma Brandel Gibbs Huntington Beach City Council 1970-1978
Mayor 1975-1976

A political pioneer, Norma Brandel Gibbs served Huntington Beach as its first woman Councilmember and Mayor. She is a dynamic and visionary leader who contributes unselfishly to improving the quality of life for all living beings. Her deep commitment to helping individuals and communities realize their potential is evident in her career as a professor and in her community work.

Her legacy include impacting the lives of thousand of students, the development of Huntington Central Park and neighborhood parks, bicycle paths, beach and wetlands preservation, and the Sister City program. She was also instrumental in the development of the Huntington Beach Library and Cultural Center, and the found of Interval House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Norma Brandel Gibbs' love of life permeates her love of teaching and the raising of her four children. It is fitting that this park, home to butterflies and people of all ages, is dedicated to this warm, inspiring leader who holds as her motto:

You can fly
But that cocoon has to go.

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